'Winning' the War in Iraq

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The surge in Iraq is working. What does that mean? It means that less of our soldiers are dying, less Iraq civilians are being murdered and there is some normalcy returning to parts of Iraq. OK … does that mean we are winning?

We will always defeat our enemies when they show up on the battlefield; we have the best military in the world. However, killing every bad guy in Iraq does not mean we're winning. Unless the Iraqi government delivers the “freedom” we have been yelling about and actually provides goods and services to its people and the Iraq police and military can take over from us when we leave, we dare not declare victory, winning or anything like it.

Right now, the Iraqi government is finalizing contracts with Iran and China — contracts worth over a billion dollars.

So, winning in Iraq means Iran and China get business?

The Shia dominated Iraqi government is tied at the hip to the Shia dominated Iranian government, they share common economic interests now. So, almost 4,000 Americans have died and thousands more wounded so that IRAN can get what they could not get in over 10 years of war with Saddam’s Iraq — mainly economic and political influence? The U.S. Military is, as always, doing its job, but the remainder of the U.S. Government, mainly the State Department, is continuing to fail us! Yup, sure looks like winning to me.

In Afghanistan, we took the place with ease, installed a government, so that means we won? The Taliban that we defeated and Al Qaeda that we killed, are back bigger than ever. Since we have been in Afghanistan, the opium production has improved over 70 percent to the point that Afghanistan is now the largest producer of the stuff in the world. Now, that should be enough, but here is the thing, the illegal drug traffic besides infecting this country and the whole of Europe, is also fueling the insurgency we are fighting and Al Qaeda all over the damn planet. Yes, that is a win as well … I think not.

The reason for all this is straightforward: winning this war is much more political than military. If it were just military, we would have been out of Iraq and Afghanistan years ago. It is much more economic than military, much more social than military, and for sure more religious than military. We must insist that all of the U.S. government participate in this war not just the military, the Department of Agriculture, which is desperately needed in Afghanistan, the Department of Labor, needed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Justice, needed in both places; the entire government in other words.

When I say needed, I mean not in the puny numbers now being used, but a real SURGE, a SUSTAINED EFFORT like our military is doing. So, while politicians and pundits talk about how much we are winning, you can yell back and say, YEA BUT — THIS IS WHAT WAR LOOKS LIKE WHEN THE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT IS NOT ON THE FRONT LINE!

If we had all yelled more six years ago, more of our brave soldiers would be alive today and that is surely worth yelling about, me thinks.

Winning used to be total for us, now it is parsed, spun, massaged made out of lies. We used to know what winning and victory looked like. I think it is high time we get to know these words again.

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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.